What would you do? Three options...

sarahandbrayDecember 4, 2012

This is a quick story with a plea for help based on poor timing on our part.

1880's house--FINALLY decided to remove aluminum siding and 1950's storms in September.

November--had house (half!) painted--rest of house has to wait until spring
--Bought new Larson storms waiting to be installed, sitting in garage

Had a guy all set up to install storm windows (he said he can install approximately 3 storms in two hours and charges $35/hour. Now that he is ready to install next week, he asked ME to rent a LIFT for $600 for the week so he can safely access the second story of our house and install the storms!!

That was not part of the original conversation, so I am ANNOYED! We are crazy-busy with three kids, full-time jobs, and tons of volunteer commmittments, but I'm sure we can figure out how to put in storm windows (can't be that hard, can it?)

What would you do?
OPTION 1: Hire the guy, rent the lift, and pay approximately $600 + $650 labor to install storms
OPTION 2: Attempt to install ourselves--now before winter really starts here in upstate, NY
OPTION 3: Put heavy duty plastic on outside of windows until spring when everything gets it's final coat of paint anyway and THEN install storms (either us or guy)

What would you do?

(Just FYI--we realize this project has been done completely backwards--I've literally just gotten done glazing 25 windows in situ, so I'm a little CRABBY with my house at the moment!!)

Sarah from Albany

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Not sure this would work for you - I installed my 2nd floor storms from the inside. It's kind of a PITA - you have to kind of hang out the window a little and twist around to screw the aluminum frame in place (minus the glass panes). But its a lot cheaper than $600. You have to be able to move both your upper and lower window sashes of your inside wood windows completely all the way up and down so that you can get to all parts of the storm window to screw it on. Also I have a little ledge and gutter right below the windows so I could pass out the aluminum frame (minus the glass panes)and set it on the ledge when my arms got tired from holding it in place. Or if you have a second person they can hold it in place while you screw the screws in and check for square.

If you have to wait til spring to finish painting and caulking of the storms etc. I think Id choose option #3. Actually that was my plan but I managed to squeeze in a few warm days in late October and I got er done. May cost you a little bit more in heating but then you save time in spring so its worth it.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:28AM
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Well that stinks! If you have to rent the lift you could easily do it yourselves. I would probably put up plastic and bite the bullet until Spring. It surely won't cost you 600.00 in heating costs over the winter.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:42AM
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A couple of thoughts:

I see that Larson asserts that their storms create an "air-tight seal". I was wondering if you have considered that that may create a problem unless you have already tightly weatherstripped the primary sash, Without super-effective weatherstripping on the primaries warm, moist house air migrates into space between primary and storm and condenses. It will lift the paint on your windowsills, and eventually cause them to rot. Cheapo- leaky alumium storms are a blessing in disguise. However, next summer you can pull the wooden sash out and tighten them up sufficiently so that house air can't get into the cavity. The problem with air-tight sealing on the outside of any window or wall assembly is that it traps condensed moisture when the non-airtight materials allow it to get outward to a cold surface, where it changes from vapor into water. The only safe place for air-tight seals is on the warm, interior side, not the final outermost layer.
I'd install plastic over the windows for the winter or just leave them bare. If you do plastic, I suggest buying greenhouse film rather than trying to get through the whole winter with construction grade poly, even heavy duty. (Griffen Greenhouse Supply in Schenectady is a good source.)

While you're there buy a roll of white plastic batten tape to hold the plastic down on the window frames. All you need is half-inch staples. But it will be annoying to be putting staples in your newly painted window trim! If you use plastic don't staple the bottom edge down; leave it loose for ventilation. I cut mine off about 5 inches below the windowsill and then trim in in a wide half moon so that at the edges it's only about 3 inches below the window sill. This keeps the plastic hanging well. Have the vertical ends of the batten tape hanging loose over the windowsill projection. I fold the outer edges of the plastic inward over the batten tape and staple through the two layers of film and the tape. It makes a very sturdy installation. I've never had the film pull off. To install plastic over the second story windows, you'll need a ladder with a stand-off to stradle the frame. Don't cut all the plastic film ahead of time - just enough for a few windows. You will need approximately 7-8" more than the vertical and horizontal measurements of the opening for each piece. Film is tricky to hang straight, though that's what makes a nice-looking job.

I am just finishing up covering all of my barn windows with film so I can pull the sash over the winter - all 93 of them! I can send you a pic (and detailed description of how I've worked out doing it) if you decide to go the plastic route.

Frankly, I don't think I'd bother with the plastic. The roll of film will cost 100-200 bucks and the roll of batten tape maybe $25. Plus you'll have to put staple holes in your new paint job.

Next summer during school break rent the lift yourselves, There will be other things you can do with it during the week's rental besides installing the storms. The first window will take you two hours, but I bet the last one won't! So for the trouble of doing the installation yourself, you can save the whole cost of the lift. And you'll have it when you have time to ue it for other things, too.



    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:31PM
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What ever happened to ladders?! We did ours up to the 3rd floor. 2nd floor would be easy from a ladder...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 6:37PM
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We are having window guy do 15 first floor storms and we will do second floor. Painter is already prepared and fine with the fact that there will be storms in and will paint around. We will use burly brother-in-law and big, honkin' ladders with stabilizers to put in second floor storms. Attic can wait.
Getting 8 panes of glass from salvage yard and having one of two local glass cutters cut to size so we still have wavy, bubbly glass. Installing ourselves. Can't be bothered with removing sashes. Some pulleys work. Some don't but I'm not getting into that right now. Have "Working Windows" and will read more at a later date.
This house has to be a blend of historically accurate, practical, family-oriented and cheap!!
Loved glazing 30+ windows b/c I felt so frugal!! Two giant buckets of DAP 33, putty knife, a bunch of razor blades and a good stereo and ladders. My kind of project!! Mindless, easy, and with minimal set-up/clean-up.
I'll keep you posted! I know I'm not going to love the new storms but I realize its allowing me to keep my old windows and stay warmer, so I'm good!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Ususally its his place to rent it not you,my hubby is a builder he has all his own equipment.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 11:01PM
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We just put up new storms on my Dad's house. He had the original wood storm windows he went up the ladder every fall and spring for decades. My son did it for him the last few years (he's 84 now). Installing the new storms on a ladder was pretty easy. The old sashes look great and no more twice a year project to put them up and down.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:27AM
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Sara, It sounds like you have this under control, however, I'll offer a little advice.Larson windows...who ordered and measured them? I sold them for 30 years and insisted on measuring them all myself and at no charge. Blind stop measurements or overlap? Exact size with an expander? I have seen many wrong sized windows when the customer insisted on using his measurements. Also, never caulk along the bottom of the window. I have seen 6 inches of water fill between the window and storm. In fact, there is no reason to caulk around a storm, unless you are selling caulk. Renting the lift falls on the person performing the labor. Finally, Dap makes glazing in a caulk tube. We replaced the glass in thousands of windows and found this is MUCH easier! Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Thanks, everyone!!

We had the window guy/installer measure the Larson Blind Stop Gold Series storms. I kind of think they're ugly, but oh well :( We can't afford wooden storms and want something more soundproof anyway since we live on a busy county road. At least we will still have our wavy, bubbly glass!! I'm hoping that with the cool paint job on the house and the addition of old shutters will take your eye away from the storm windows. And if it doesn't and I post pictures, please don't tell me how ugly it looks!!! Wishing I had gotten a dark storm color, but again, oh well. The new white ones are sitting in my garage and there's no changing that now!

Although we are "handy," I did not want to be in charge of measurements. This guy is very particular and comes highly recommended, so hopefully he got it right!

I did read a lot about leaving the bottom uncaulked, so I will make sure that happens.

Our windows are in decent shape for their age, but not perfect. None are in horrible disrepair. Out of 42 windows, only two are painted shut (an oops on my part when we moved in ten years ago).

And I actually was totally fine with using DAP 33 out of the tub--got quite the knack for it and really "enjoyed" it, as much as you can when you have full-time jobs and three little kids you're ignoring to get home improvement jobs done!

I watched dozens of videos on the glazing process, but liked this one the best, even though I did it with the windows in place and not on sawhorses. Took me about 1.5 hours to chip out, clean, scrape, and glaze a window, depending on the shape of the window. Nice part is, it was about $1 per window, so that felt GREAT! 1.5 tubs of DAP 33 and countless hours later, this has to be the cheapest DIY project we've done yet!


Here is a link that might be useful: window glazing

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:38PM
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